LANGHORNE, PA—Yesterday, May 5th, 2020, Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Chris Pappas (NH-01), Greg Steube (FL-17), and Gil Cisneros (CA-39) introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure local chambers of commerce and other nonprofits who support small businesses can receive the federal assistance they need to weather this economic downturn while they continue working to help America’s Main Street businesses. 

Like the businesses they serve, many local chambers, tourism-related organizations, and other 501(c)(6) nonprofits are now experiencing their own financial challenges brought on by COVID-19. These organizations are not currently eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to get financial support. The Local Chamber, Tourism, and 501(c)(6) Protection Act would expand PPP eligibility to include 501(c)(6) organizations with 300 or fewer employees to ensure they can continue supporting our main street businesses and local economies. 

“Our local chambers of commerce, and other regional and state 501(c)6 organizations, play a vital role in our communities and have been assisting our small businesses as they navigate through the COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately, these organizations, whose assistance will be crucial to our communities’ local economic recovery efforts in the coming months, were left out of the original CARES Act package. I am proud to continue to lead this bipartisan effort with Congressman Pappas to protect our local economies and create a path to recovery for Main Street America,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick.

“Our local chambers, associations, and non-profits will continue to play an instrumental role in ensuring our Main Street businesses and regional economies can weather this storm,” said Congressman Pappas. “This bipartisan legislation will expand crucial small business assistance to the groups whose mission it is to support them. It is going to take all of us doing our part to get our economy back up and running in a safe and orderly fashion. I look forward to continue working across the aisle to introduce common sense legislation to ensure that happens.”

“We applaud Congressman Fitzpatrick for seeking to ensure local chambers of commerce have access to critical resources that will help us continue serving the needs of employers through this public health and economic crisis,” said Rob Wonderling, President & CEO, The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. “Passage of this bill is so important to our chamber’s ability to maintain the highest level of support that our business community currently demands.”

“We have a responsibility to ensure that local chambers of commerce and nonprofits are empowered to fill their important role in our small business communities as they have before the COVID-19 pandemic. This bipartisan legislation will help small business owners address their unique problems with local resources and provide a support system that will continue to serve our communities long after this crisis subsides,” said Congressman Steube.

“Our local chambers in the 39th District are at the forefront of helping our small businesses weather this storm. However, they’ve also been reeling from the effects of the coronavirus and are in desperate need of relief,” said Congressman Cisneros. “I’m proud to join my Republican and Democratic colleagues in introducing the Local Chamber, Tourism, and 501(c)(6) Protection Act. This bipartisan bill ensures that our chambers and trade groups can access PPP and continue to provide much-needed assistance to our communities.”

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pleased to support the Local Chamber, Tourism, and 501(c)(6) Protection Act,” said Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Local chambers of commerce across the country play a vital role in assisting local businesses weathering the economic storm caused by the coronavirus. Including these organizations in the Paycheck Protection Program ensures they can continue with this important work in the weeks and months ahead. We will continue to work with Representatives Pappas, Fitzpatrick, and other members of Congress to include local chambers in this important program.”

“The PPP eligibility needs to be expanded to destination marketing organizations—no matter how they’re structured—because they will be essential engines of the economic recovery,” said U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes. “We thank Congressman Pappas and Congressman Fitzpatrick for having the vision to take on this critical issue, and we urge congressional leaders to enact this bill as quickly as possible.”

This legislation has been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Travel Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), the American Osteopathic Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR), the National Leased Housing Association, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, the American Dental Association, the American Society for Radiation Oncology, and the American Academy of Dermatology Association, National Association of Spine Specialists, SCAI - The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, the Renal Physicians Association, and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

Last month Congressmen Fitzpatrick and Pappas also led a group of 62 lawmakers in calling on the House leadership to make local chambers of commerce and similar organizations that assist small businesses eligible for direct federal assistance.